Walkers: Lalbagh can be better

Ahead of a DH citizen-officials live interface on Sunday, Metrolife visits the world-famous botanical gardens and asks visitors, ‘What’s your morning walk like?’.

Hundreds of walkers throng Lalbagh every morning. This is the scene at West Gate on Thursday.

People who take morning strolls in Lalbagh say some changes in the way it is maintained could make the experience better.

When Metrolife visited the sprawling gardens early on Thursday, citizens taking in the fresh air paused to talk about their concerns.

Parking is something many walkers want, but clearing the lawns for parking would mean less lush green space. People approaching Lalbagh from the West Gate now park their cars and two-wheelers on adjoining roads.

Some vehicles are allowed in from the KH (Double) Road entrance, but that is not enough, many say. “Space was made to park about 200 vehicles near the Siddapura entrance, but walkers objected, and that space is left unused,” says M N Narayan, jeweller and regular visitor to Lalbagh.

He says the fountains and the lakeside could have more lighting, and the path towards the Ganesha temple by the hillside is not safe for the elderly. “I think there should be more parking space for Lalbagh visitors,” says Rudreshawari, accountancy student.

Stray dogs are a concern for some. “I have been bitten once and was attacked again recently. Something should be done,” says Medhini, a homemaker. She is also against cement paths for walking. “I prefer walking on mud paths. Walking on cemented roads has disadvantages. I wish mud paths could make a comeback,” she says.

Tara Anand, another homemaker, is also worried about strays. “They become violent at times and start chasing walkers. There has to be someone to guard the walkers,” she says.

Tara prefers morning walks to evening ones as the lighting isn’t so great once it gets dark. Sneha, who was taking a stroll with her child, says, “It gets pretty dark after 5.30 pm as there are no lights. Also, there should be a separate play area for kids,” she says.

Ravi, who runs a business, wants better maintenance, especially of the lake. “The fish die because of low oxygen levels. The place is ruined during the monsoon,” he says. He is also worried no help is at hand before 9 am. “The security guards come in for duty only then,” he says.

Vishwanath, another businessman, says visitors are to blame for some of the garden’s problems. “They feed the birds and dogs even though it is not allowed,” he observes. A corporate giant has offered to work with Lalbagh to promote environmental hygiene. They are yet to begin the collaboration, says Nagendra Babu, media consultant and civil defence volunteer.

Vasanta, who runs a tailor shop on DVG Road, says the seating is deteriorating and needs to be fixed. “They have not been repaired for a long time now. There are not many washrooms either. There should be occasional tents for people to rest,” she suggests.

 

Parking or not?

While many Metrolife spoke sought more parking inside Lalbagh, a former judge said it would be better if no vehicles were allowed inside.

“Stop vehicular movement inside Lalbagh. It is a botanical garden of world repute, and it should be preserved, not polluted,” says Justice D V Shylendra Kumar, former judge of the High Court. He also recommends a ban on plastic.

 

Janaspandana, a Deccan Herald and Prajavani initiative to address the city’s problems, brings officials and people’s representatives face to face with citizens. The upcoming event, on Sunday, Nov 25, will be held at Lalbagh, right behind the Glasshouse, near Bonsai Garden Circle and focuses on Lalbagh. Sing up for the drive and talk about your grievances. All are welcome, with first-come-first-served seating.

 

Walkers want

- Control of strays
- More staff at hand
- Better seating
- More parking
- Brighter lighting

 

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Walkers: Lalbagh can be better

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